Gov. Bentley Speaks Out On Republican Legislators Who've Resigned From Seats

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By Catalina Trivino

Governor Robert Bentley is speaking out to us about whether he's upset that three of his fellow Republicans have quit their elected positions in the Legislature during their terms to take jobs elsewhere. That's left him having to set three special elections.

With those three members resigning, Governor Bentley says his office is hard at work helping to put these special elections together The latest numbers on special elections came from 2011, when the state held three special elections. The price tag for those counties? Over 300 thousand dollars.

"It just seems like a lot of them have occured at one time now," Said Governor Bentley, who now has to organize three special elections after three of his fellow republicans quit in the Alabama House of Representatives: Montgomery's Jay Love,  Barry Mask of Wetumpka and Mobile's Jim Barton have left open seats after taking other jobs.
 

Mark Duckenfield, a political science professor at Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, says he wonders if money is the reason for the resignations.

"If they'd gotten $50,000 less, would they have turned it down and stayed as a state legislature? So as a voter it sort of undermines your faith in public service if your representatives are sort of engaged in this sort of negotiation while they are holding public office," Said Duckenfield, who lives in Montgomery.

We caught up with Governor Robert Bentley during his road to economic recovery tour in Wetumpka to find out if he's upset that some legislators aren't willing to finish their term.

"I believe unless it's absolutely neccessary, I believe you should serve out your terms that the people elected you to. Yes, I do believe that -- but I also understand how situations can arise," Said Bentley.

This also means three special elections are ahead and some voters say it's not fair they're paying the price for it.

"I don't think we should be held responsible to spend the extra money to hold an election to fill the spot that they were elected to fill," Said Wetumpka resident, Sue Vanblaricom.

Alabama voter registration statisics from the secretary of state office show more than 440,000 voters in those three districts that will hold a special election. So far, the only election date that's been set is for Jay Love's seat on October 8.

There are other Republican elected leaders who've quit in recent months. Congressman Jo Bonner of Mobile has stepped down to become a vice chancellor in the University of Alabama system, where his sister is president of the university. Primaries in that special election are two weeks from today.
 

Secretary of State Beth Chapman quit to take a political consulting job. In that case, the governor appoints a replacement, so a special election isn't needed.

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Shirley Ann Rawls said on Wednesday, Sep 11 at 10:18 PM

There should be a law that unless you're seriously ill or experience a serois calamity in your life...you must serve your entire term. The people of Alabama are the victims here!!

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Deborah S Hastings said on Wednesday, Sep 11 at 9:29 AM

I think they all need to quit, especially Robert Bentley. They are all hurting the state of Alabama!

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